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What are truffles?
Truffles are one of the supreme luxuries in nature. Their distinctive fragrance has inspired culinary brilliance for centuries.
We are not talking about those little chocolate sweets for dessert but about the rare edible fungus that grows underground, usually at the base of certain types of trees in the forests of Europe, mainly from Spain, France and Italy. That fact makes they feature a distinctive aroma and taste that chefs around the world crave.
Main Spanish truffles
Spain is actually the biggest producer and exporter of best quality Black Truffles. In our country we mainly harvest Black Truffle (Tuber melanosporum), the most appreciated by gourmets, and in second place, Black Summer Truffle (Tuber aestivum).
How to find truffles?
A truffle is actually a mushroom, but an unusual one who grows underground and attached to the roots of trees. Obviously, that means they are especially difficult to find since you can’t see them.
Hunters traditionally used pigs to detect these misterious mushroms; however, truffle duties were passed to dogs later on for several reasons:
Dogs are much more friendly and easy to be trained.
They are less likely to eat their truffle finds, but it is necessary to be vigilant anyway because they also love their intense flavour.
They have more stamina than an average pig, which allows them to search for longer.
In certain countries, the use of truffle hogs has been prohibited due to the damage caused to the roots of truffle trees when they were digging.
Where do truffles grow?
Spain has been a country in which since ancient times there have been truffles in a natural way. In the past, wild truffles were abundant in our forests, as well as in the French and Italian landscapes.
Despite this, changes in the European rural world such as the disappearance of grazing, exodus, wars… caused a steady decrease of the production of wild truffles throughout Europe.
Being a product so rare and valued all over the world, but still unknown and mysterious in terms of its development and reproduction cycles, new scientific researchs made possible for truffles to grow naturally in holm oak, oak or hazelnut plantations as a result of the mycorrhization of their roots (trees are inoculated with truffle spores). After 5 to 10 years from planting mycorrhized trees, the first truffles begin to grow.
In Spain we can find truffles almost in the east half of the country, mainly in the provinces of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lérida, Guadalajara, Zaragoza, Huesca, Valencia, Castellón, Soria and Teruel.
Do you want to live a truffle hunting experience in Spain?
Contact us and we will let you know the available options depending on the seasons.